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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Advent Day 8: Worship Gifts

Day 8: Worship Gifts
(Loving God With Our Souls)

Meditation (3-5 Minutes)
Begin by being still before God.  Read Psalms 100 and meditate on the words.

Ps 100 (NIV)
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.  Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.  Know that the LORD is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.  For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

1)    Be still and know he is God. 
2)    Worship the Lord with gladness.
3)    Sing a joyful song to him.
4)    He made us.  Enjoy being his. 
5)    Give thanks to him.
6)    Praise his name.
7)    Bask in his goodness, love, and faithfulness. 

Prayer (5-10 Minutes)

1)    Ask God to speak to you during this devotional time.

2)    Requests of the Christ Child (Appendix 1):
a)    Do you want to worship?  Do you wake up in the morning with a yearning to worship God?  Ask God to teach you how to worship. 
b)    Do you worship God before you “open your treasures” and give Christmas Gifts?  Ask him to give you a heart for him this Christmas. 
c)    Turn to Appendix 1: Pray and update.

3)    Gifts from the Christ Child (Appendix 2):
a)    Praise our God, The Most High, for loving us. 
b)    Tell Him how much you love him. 
c)    Turn to Appendix 2 and thank your Heavenly Father for the privilege of worship. 

4)    Gifts to the Christ Child (Appendix 3):
a)    Offer your worship to Christ. 
b)    Turn to Appendix 3 and lay each gift at the feet of the Baby Jesus.
c)    Pray and update Appendix 3.

5)    Ask God for knowledge of his will for you this Christmas and the power to carry it out. 

6)    Ask the Holy Spirit to interpret the scriptures you are about to read.

Bible Study (10-15 Minutes)

At Christmas, we have two choices.  We can worship the gifts we give or we can give our gifts in worship.  The title of this Devotion is “Worship Gifts.”  Are you giving “worship gifts” or do you worship “gifts?” 

We are worshipping gifts when we “chase after gifts.”  Are you frantically running through malls?  Do you feel pressure to spend too much money or at least as much as someone else?  Do you over spend at Christmas?  Do you resent gift giving?  Are you stingy?  Do you feel resentment about what you receive at Christmas?  When Christmas is over, are you left wanting “more” or dealing with the reality of overwhelming Christmas bills?  If you have answered yes, to many or most of these questions, you may be worshipping gifts.  If you are surprised, do not be.  Human nature wants to worship gifts. 

There is hope.  God can overcome our human nature and replace it with his.  Do you pray about your gifts and offer them to the Christ Child?  Do you enjoy giving and receiving?  Do you “open your treasures” and give with a cheerful heart?  Do you give only what you can truly afford?  Do you feel a sense of peace and satisfaction when the Christmas season is past?   If so, you are probably worshipping God and not gifts.

Background Scripture

Have you ever bought an extravagant gift for Christmas, only to have it break immediately?  Read Isaiah 1:22-23.  What does our silver and wine turn into when we “chase after gifts?”  (Write your answer in your journal.)

Read 2 Chronicles 31:14.  We are worshipping God with our gifts when think of these gifts as “consecrated contributions” made to the Lord.  One of Webster’s definitions of consecrated is “to dedicate solely to a purpose or a goal.”  What is the goal of your gift giving this Christmas?  Are your gifts consecrated?  (Write your answers in your journal.)

2 Corinthians 9:7 is a model for how to give gifts.  First, each man (or woman) should decide in his heart what to give.  We are not to give reluctantly or under compulsion.  What kind of giver does God love?  (Write your answer in your journal.)

Loving God with our souls is the final purpose for gift giving in this devotional series. This will be the last devotion dedicated solely to giving and receiving gifts.  We worship God with our souls.  Worship gifts are those gifts that assist us with our worship of God. 

Read Psalms 96:9.  As you give gifts this Christmas, worship the Lord in the spender of his holiness. 

Personal Examples of Worship Gifts

I keep a daily prayer journal.  In this journal, I write love letters to God.  I keep a list of prayer requests and their answers.  I keep another list of people I know that need to know Jesus Christ personally.  Over the years, people have given me many journals.  Because I keep filling them up, I always enjoy a new journal.  These journals assist my daily private worship. 

I love music.  People occasionally give Christian music books and sheet music.  I enjoy using these books while worshipping quietly at the piano.  Much of my worship is in the car with Christian CD’s.  I always love new CD’s. 

Our children gave us a quilt for our 30th wedding anniversary.  This quilt is special because it has their pictures in it.  It hangs on a stairway wall.  I pray for my family as I pass this quilt multiple times per day.  This quilt has become an instrument of worship. 

A Worship Gift for a Worship Leader

At 14, Jim loves Christmas because he enjoys worshipping God with Christmas Carols.  He prefers singing from the Hymn Book because he enjoys singing parts.  “We celebrate Christmas because God sent His Son to earth.  That is something to sing about.” 

Jim met Jesus personally as a very young child.  I asked Jim, “Do you remember what you were like before you knew Jesus?” 

“Yes,” he answered.  “Right after I became a Christian, I was very aware of the difference between right and wrong.  Suddenly I felt a real desire to do the right thing.  I even wanted to treat my younger brother better.” 

“Many adults that accept Jesus as a young child forget what it was like to be without Christ.  Do you think you’ll ever forget?”  I asked. 

“I won’t forget because I made a decision to remember,” he said.  “I think most people remember what they decide to remember.” 

Jim is a musician and attends an Arts High School.  He is a pianist, singer, and guitarist.  While Jim is smart and talented, he has to practice.  Between his piano and his guitar, he spends several hours a day, learning to play skillfully. 

A couple of years ago, Jim’s family gave him his bass guitar as a Christmas gift.  Jim’s uncle plays the bass and uses the skill as a worship leader in his church.  Jim’s uncle taught him a little about the bass and Jim taught himself the rest.  Now Jim is using his bass as a worship leader in his own church.  At only fourteen, he plays his bass guitar every Sunday during the morning worship service. 

“I love participating in the worship service.  The only thing I mind is not being able to sing along with the hymns.  At least I get to go to our Sunday evening worship and sing there.” 

As Jim talked, I thought of Psalms 57:7-8.  Jim sings and makes music with a “steadfast heart.” 

Psalms 57:7-8  NIV
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.  Awake, my soul!  Awake, harp and lyre!  I will awaken the dawn.

Read Psalms 33:2-3 below.  How is Jim following this scripture?  (Write your answer in your journal. 

Psalms 33:2-3 NIV
Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.  Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. 


Like the other types of gifts, there are warnings that go with giving “worship gifts.”  Not everyone knows how to worship.  They may not know to use the gift they receive.  If helping with worship is the purpose of a gift you give, be prepared to teach them how to use it. 

Not everyone wants to worship.  Your gift may not be appreciated.  Worse, people may think you are trying to control their behavior.  Remember that most people worship gifts.  Think about it.  It is really hard to worship a gift that has the purpose of worship.  To some, they might be boring. 

The last warning is that not everyone worships the same way.  Something useful to you may not be useful to everyone. 


A worship gift becomes a worship gift when the receiver chooses to make it one.  A bass guitar has many purposes.  Jim’s bass became a worship gift when he used it for worship.  Quilts have many purposes.  My quilt is only a “worship gift” because I choose to use it as a reminder to pray.  The intent of the Christian CD’s and Journals were for worship.  Even those only became worship gifts when I used them to worship. 

It is a special blessing to receive a gift on behalf of the Christ Child.  Because our gifts belong to the Christ Child, it is critical to use them on his behalf.  If we let him, God will bless our gifts.  Through them, they can become tools to help us learn to love him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  We can use them to learn to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Below is a demonstration of how one simple gift to the Christ Child helped a Child of Christ learn to love. 

Loving God With Our Soul:  We worship with our souls.  Jim had worshipped as he watched his uncle lead others in worship using a bass guitar.  Jim has always worshipped through music.  Now he uses his own bass guitar as a part of his worship.  When he plays his bass guitar in his church, he learns to love God more with his soul. 

Loving God With Our Strength:  We love God with our strength when we minister to others.  Jim’s music is ministering to the congregation of his church. 

Loving God With Our Minds:  We love God with our minds when we train our minds for God’s service.  Jim practices and learns how to play “new songs skillfully.” 

Loving God With Our Hearts:  We love God with our hearts when we fellowship with him and others.  Jim is friends with other members of the praise band he plays in.  They laugh and tease each other as they fellowship and play together. 

Loving Our Neighbors As Ourselves:  The Bible tells us that the world is our neighbor.  Jesus tells us to tell the world about Christ.  Jim is telling the world about Christ through his music. 

Application (5-10 Minutes)

1)    Making It Personal
a)    Write a letter to God, worshipping him.  (Write your letter in your journal.) 
b)    Think about a gift you received last year.  Using the example of Jim’s bass guitar, how could you have better used your gift to assist with worship?  (Write your answer in your journal.)
c)    Have you ever worshiped gifts?  Confess before God and write an example in your journal. 
d)    Have you ever used a gift for worship?  Write an example in your journal. 
e)    Ask our Wonderful Counselor if any of the gifts you have received in the past could become a worship gift.  (Write his answer in your journal)

2)    Praying Continuously  (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
a)    Look around your home.  Find gifts that people have given you.  Find a way to use them for the purpose of worship.  Examples:
i)    A Picture – If someone has given you a picture, take a moment and thank God for that person.  Pray for their families, teachers, doctors, and employers. 
ii)    A Bike – Take a ride.  Praise God for everything you see.  Breathe in his fresh air and feel his presence.  Feel his wind on your face and let his Spirit freshen your spirit. 
iii)    Apparel – If you are wearing something someone gave you:
(1)    Pray for them.
(2)    Ask God to help you remember that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.

3)    Ending The Day
a)    Think about your day. 
i)    If you worshipped gifts, confess.
ii)    If you received gifts, praise him.
b)    Praise him for the privilege of giving him gifts this Christmas.
c)    Ask him what he wants for Christmas.

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